About OpenWebOS

From WebOS-Ports
Revision as of 13:34, 13 September 2013 by Lowey (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

What is Open webOS?


webOS on a HP / Palm Pre 2 Smartphone in “card view” (showing running apps grouped together)

Open webOS is an open-source mobile operating system based on Palm webOS, which was originally developed by Palm Inc. and released on the Palm Pre Smartphone in June 2009. webOS has its roots in Linux, but features a UI and application framework built on top of web technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. Rendering of the UI is achieved through a custom WebKit engine codenamed “Luna”.

Following its acquisition of Palm Inc. in April 2010, Hewlett Packard (HP) re-wrote webOS to include tablet support, ahead of the HP TouchPad’s ultimate release in July 2011. After a surprise decision to halt all production, sales and future development of webOS-based hardware in August 2011, HP decided to release an open source version of the webOS operating system. Open webOS was officially released in September 2012 . On 25 February 2013, HP announced the sale of its remaining webOS division to LG Electronics, who are still actively contributing to the Open webOS code base.

Detailed information on the history and technical aspects of webOS / Open webOS can be found on the webOS Wiki and on the Open webOS Project site.

What made webOS unique?

The design of the webOS UI was led by current Director of Android User Experience at Google Inc., Matias Duarte. The design language was elegant, whilst still preserving the simplicitiy principles that made the original Palm OS successful (aka Zen of Palm).

Unique features of webOS included:

  • The original card-based multi-tasking interface (including live-view, stacking, reordering and flick to dismiss apps / cards)
  • Unobtrusive, actionable notifications
  • Extensive support for gestures
  • Synergy synchronization
  • Native Adobe Flash support
  • Just Type Universal Search
  • Wave Launcher
  • Easy access to true Developer Mode (Root Access) through use of the Konami code or special http://www.webOS-internals.org/wiki/Portal:Accessing_Linux%7C keyword]
  • Palm Online Profile device backup and synchronization to the cloud
  • The first implementation of an “Over The Air (OTA)” update mechanism to provide webOS users with the ability to receive OS updates directly on their Smartphones.

Screenshots and a more detailed explanation of each of these unique features is in the next section[LINK].

webOS also has an active and committed Homebrew Community that is largely driven by WebOS Internals, the developers of an application called Preware. This application is essentially a portal that provides direct access to homebrew apps and UI / System customizations developed under an unique patching sytem that did not require tethering to a computer, and also provided the ability to easily revert changes made.